Thursday, May 24, 2018

Who Would YOU Believe?

She got stopped because she was driving erratically... at 1:30 in the morning. 

The Texas trooper who pulled her car over suspected she'd been drinking, thanks to the bottles in the car and the open cup. She performed all his tests, and blew just under the limit for a DUI.

He booked her for a DWI, instead. After some time, her family produced bail at the station, and she was released.

Only to accuse the policeman of groping and attempting to rape her. Her accusations were graphic and shocking. She said she barely got away from him, and went to the hospital. Her fiance, who had been there for part of the traffic stop, 'strongly backed up' her account.

Little did Sherita Dixon-Cole realize that Officer Hubbard, the trooper she was accusing, had a bodycam on that recorded everything. 

A prominent black activist, Shaun King, immediately jumped on the bandwagon, accusing the Texas Department of Public Safety -- and Hubbard -- of horrendous crimes. This was just another example, King said, of the treatment that black women had to endure everywhere, ever since antiquity, practically. He was regularly contacted by people who'd been victimized and he stood up for them, with his heart on his sleeve. That was just the way he was.
     According to him, he'd vetted the story carefully. Dixon-Cole had a sterling reputation. The person who stood up for her was a source King had trusted for years. Everybody said she was a wonderful person, no way this could be made up.

But he didn't bother to view the bodycam footage. 

To his credit, he says he eventually watched the hour-plus footage (3 times), but he also brought it to an editor, to see if it had been doctored. (The editor said it had not.) Unfortunately for Dixon-Cole, the entire tape shows nothing but a professional, respectful policeman who was doing his job.

    See for yourself.  (It's pretty matter-of-fact. Boring, even.)

And now King is sorry.  "I can't even begin to make sense of why someone would concoct such an awful story," he says in a followup article he wrote, 'When the Victim Turns Out to be the Victimizer.' "Particularly in light of the reality that both police brutality and sexual assaults are a very real crisis in this nation. It does a tremendous disservice to actual victims when something horrible like this is fabricated. It provides an unfair spotlight to a good cop and undeserved cover for the bad ones who will try to use an incident like this as false proof of their innocence."

Does this sound like an apology to you? An admission, perhaps -- but does he ever address the real issue, that he jumped on the bandwagon without bothering to double-check the facts?

The Texas Department of Public Safety, who released the bodycam footage, had this to say:
Following the arrest, spurious and false accusations related to this traffic stop were made against the Texas Trooper. Upon learning of those allegations, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately took action to review the video in connection with this traffic stop and arrest. The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public.

More here on this shameful incident.

More on Sherita Dixon-Cole herself. She continues to insist that it really happened, and the bodycam tape was somehow edited. At least her lawyer apologized. Kinda. Sort of. I guess that's something. (Here's his statement, along with King's.)

Charges are being considered...

This brings all sorts of interesting questions to mind. 

*Who would you have believed, had Officer Hubbard NOT been wearing a bodycam?

*How many black journalists are admitting that they may have jumped to conclusions, based on their predeliction to certain beliefs?

*How many assault and rape accusations are actually true? (Or, for that matter, police brutality incidents.) How many have another side to the story...or never happened at all?

*How many true incidents -- that deserve public anger and prosecution -- will now be dismissed or ignored because of this one?

I keep thinking of the #MeToo campaign; it is sooo easy to make sexual abuse accusations now, without actual proof from things that happened months or years ago. Sadly, it gives the real criminals an 'out' by saying that their accusers made it up. (Harvey Weinstein rushes quickly into view.)

If they didn't, this will be even harder to prove. 

True rascists are sprouting up everywhere now, saying that all accusations are false, people are just going for the $$, 'they're all the same,' etc etc. Plenty of crude language and swear words adorn these lovely tributes to idiocy. (Who 'They' are isn't always clear -- sometimes it's the 'people,' sometimes it's the police. Or 'The Man.' Depends on who's making the comments.)


Who's apologized to Officer Hubbard, for trying to ruin his life?

Certainly not Sherita Dixon-Cole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There's A New Dog in Town!

Welcome to the Brick family, Ruby.

She's part Australian shepherd, part Great Pyrenees...and all female. We found her at the Buddy Center, the Denver Dumb Friends League's local spot. She's not as big as Charley is -- but then again, he's a BIG dog.

Charley wasn't thrilled when she first arrived. (Ironic, since he originally came from the same place; his moniker was "Chester." Hers was "Peaches.")

    He seems to enjoy having her around now.

             We definitely do.

"Meet the Frugalwoods' Review

Have you ever read the Frugalwoods blog?

You should. 

It's the story of Nate, Liz, their two kids, dog -- and their land out in the East Coast woods. They used to live in town, but through massive saving, scrimping and whatnot, they were able to afford this 60+ acre property.

Now Liz has written her first book, Meet the Frugalwoods. It's a sort-of "how we got where we are" recapping of their story, complete with tips and ideas they used, in order to save so much money.

I love the blog. Didn't care that much for the book.

Liz, who refers to herself as a "constantly recovering perfectionist," is also a control freak. When things don't go exactly as planned -- and when do they? -- she tends to obsess. She jumps the gun a lot about the difficulty of finding work and an affordable place to live;  Nate's marriage proposal;  getting pregnant (or not); her first child's birth (she seems surprised that it would hurt);  her job commitments; etc etc. She fusses about snow, icy roads, vehicle reliability, gardens, trees (how dare the wild creatures eat off them!?!); too cold/too hot; tracking in dirt; and everything else you can think of. Worry, worry, fuss, fuss.

Geez, Mrs. Frugalwood, you're living out in the boonies. What can you expect?

Maybe the book was written when she was much more nervous. Her most recent posts on the blog, like this one on using time wisely, are more relaxed. Do what you can...and leave it at that.

Are you starting to mellow out, Mrs. F.?

If life gives you lemons...

The Frugalwoods point out that things take up our time and energy, as much as anything. "You can afford to buy the things that are most important to you and you have enough time to do the things that are most important to you," she says. "In order to do this, however, you have to eliminate all of the unimportant time and money drains from your life."

Not only that -- eliminating them means you give yourself more time, not less. In other words:

Fewer things (and only keeping things that are truly useful) = 
             more time & energy for what's really important. 

As we get rid of more and more, in preparation for moving into the trailer, I see the wisdom of her urge "of wanted less, of needing less, of being truly content with less."

She's right.

Meet the Frugalwoods is worth reading -- but at arm's length. Jobs like theirs are found more in hippy dippy places like Boulder or other college towns, than they are in average America. Their food purchases are anything but frugal, with their emphasis on 'organic,''artisan' and such. (Easy labels to slap on, harder to prove.) And there's always the sense, 'If we can't get it to fit/do exactly what we want, then we'll discard it or make it fit.' People and circumstances don't always work that way.

However, I did pick up some helpful ideas:

*Buy it secondhand.  Only pay for new when you can't find what you want in pre-used condition.

*Budget and save for what you want - but don't be afraid to grab an opportunity when you see it, either. When you're buying secondhand (and nearly all their possessions are), this is crucial.

*Spend more, if need be -- but only if that item works/operates/lasts better than a lesser brand. (This is one of the Brick's favorite tenets.)

*Frozen pizza saves the day.  Keeping extras in the freezer means quick suppers, when you're tired or not feeling well. (Or live miles from the nearest restaurant or takeout.)

*Partners take turns. If he does the meals, you clean the bathrooms. He cuts wood, you pick apples. A true marriage is a give-and-take partnership who are better in tandem than they are separately.

*Don't skimp on what you really love - just find a way to get it cheaper. They're huge fans of  carbonated water, but hated paying for the cartridges in their machine. Voila, Mr. F. figured out a way to hook up a tank, instead! That simple act saves them hundreds of a dollars a year.

*Research, research, research. Not only will you find the best buys -- you'll learn how to repair and replace, using Youtube videos and such.

*If you're at a garage sale or Craigslist search -- ask if they have anything else they'd like to sell. Baby items and furniture particularly benefit from this simple question.

*Grow or gather your own food. Not only will it fit your fussy requirements -- it will cost less and keep you healthier through exercise.

     And it will give you an even stronger connection with the land and people you've grown to love.

Maybe that's why Mrs. Frugalwood is calming down. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Advice for Grads

    I wish someone had told me these statements when I graduated from high school. But maybe they did...and I wasn't listening. They would have helped me avoid several stupid decisions and life mistakes.

*Always save something -- no matter how little. Even a dollar a week adds up in the long run. (In fact, saving regularly through my high school years, working at Rogers Hardware, meant I could afford to go to college. And that definitely changed my life.)

*Never spend more than you earn. No matter what. If you're not making enough, cut back, or get other work.

*Credit cards are great,  provided they have no annual fee, and offer rewards. BUT pay them off every single month, without fail. The month you can't is the month you should stop using them...until you can.

*Learn at least three skills that you can use to make money. Even if these aren't what you want to be doing all your life, they'll keep the bills paid. One of the skills should be food-related, if possible -- people, whatever the situation, will always need to eat.

*No job, if it's honest work and pays the bills, is ever beneath you. Be willing to scrub toilets, dogsit (including picking up poop),  wash dishes (and people), and clean up. Often these jobs are tests, to see if you're trustworthy. And they're almost always available, when other work isn't.

*Be willing to help out. Even the Queen  schlepped her new granddaughter's dog to the palace for the festivities. 

*Always be reading or studying something new -- preferably unusual or controversial. It gives you something different to think about during hard times, and provides an interesting source of conversation when meeting people.
     It may also open the door to a new opportunity you never figured on. My hobby of Bigfoot sightings certainly has done this. The latest book has had a lot to do with my collection of oddities, as well.

*Learn a foreign language. Or two. Or three. Even a few sentences come in handy. (In our area, Spanish is first...but I also speak a little German, French and a few words of Portuguese and Romanian.)

*Talk to strangers, particularly older people. You will learn so much; just be careful about where and when you do it. Public places, around other people, are best.

*Listen and ask questions -- you will learn so much more than if you try to impress them with your auditory brilliance. Even if you're sure of the answer, ask questions -- you may learn another reason or nuance that's important. (Secondary note: never assume that someone who does ask questions doesn't already have a pretty good notion of the answer!)

*Be careful who you commit to. Make sure your friends and partners worth it. Once you do, though, give them your complete loyalty and faith.

*You are not perfect. You never will be. All that's asked is that you do the best you can -- and forgive yourself for not being flawless. That's Someone Else's job...

*Use your time and energy wisely. You only get so much -- wasting it on getting drunk and high is just that -- a waste.

And most importantly:

*Ask God for help and guidance in everything, large or small.

He has never failed me. Not once. He cares about you, too.

All photos from PInterest

Twenty best graduation ideas here, including announcements and parties --
          from Fine Crafts Guild.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Home Home Home

    ...and so glad to be here. I'm still not sure what time it is -- at least my body isn't -- but it's a pleasure to be able to sleep in my own bed, and drink the Brick's coffee. (He makes the best - stop by, and he'll brew you a cup.)
     On to work, but at least we're doing it here. And not elsewhere. 

By the way, did you watch Prince Harry's and HRH Meghan's wedding? If you're female, you probably did -- or at least checked up on various tidbits about it. (Particularly Meghan's beautiful gowns.) 
     I mentioned this to the Brick. He looked at me strangely: 'Why in the world would I want to know about that??'   Gentle Readers, here is one of the major differences between the sexes. 
     Although there are always exceptions.

Treasure!  Hundreds of blog entries on all sorts of discoveries -- some you've heard of, some not. I just bumbled onto this fantastic History Blog; it has a wide variety of posts on all sorts of subjects. Including:

Catherine de Medici's hairpin -- found in a communal toilet.

A very funny -- and sassy -- excuse note written by a mom for her tardy daughter.

Eating paleo on an extremely limited budget.  (From Penniless Parenting)

Finally, some good news about a Texas kid -- who held an umbrella over an elderly woman's head while she was waiting at the bus stop.

Some very funny (and silly) memes on Prince Harry and (Princess?) Meghan's wedding.

Princess Kate is frugal?!? She wore the same coat (oh shock) she's doffed on several occasions to Harry and Meghan's wedding. (Not to mention the same shoes.) Good for her!

'A day in the life of my (supposedly) frugal stomach.'   Don't miss the reader comments -- they're some of the best part of this post. Revelations from Mr. Money Mustache.

Strainers as flowers?  Ummm... I guess so.  (From Hometalk)

Young and debt-free -- good for them!  (From NerdWallet)

'What was your lowest point, financially?'  Lots of good stuff here, including in reader comments. (Mine too, quite frankly.)  From Retire by 40.

Whatever you put into life is what you get out.  (From Diary of a Stay-At-Home Mom)

An easy strawberry pie.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

Celebrity wedding cakes of all types and sizes. Some are surprisingly modest...

Canceled and renewed tv shows for 2018-19.  'Designated Survivor,' one of our favorites, got the ax. (Sob)

When frugality gets in the way of living your life the best.  (From Financial Samurai)

'The best election night coverage report of all time.'  Warning: plenty of rudeness. Plenty of irony to send it down, though.

37 crazy ways to pay off debt.  Hey, if they work...  (From Making Sense of Cents)

One of the the more creepy Halloween decorations I've ever seen --

Weird stuff that works.  A classic from yours truly.

Have a great week.

Thanks, Pinterest

Weekend Rain

That's what it's doing here... little fog-curtains of raindrops, pushed by the wind. 

The mountains have pulled the covers over their heads, and the sky is gray.

   We see this so little in our high-desert area that it's a cause for celebration, not dreariness. 

I do too, Langston.
Growing up in Michigan, rainy days were the reminds me of there, too.

We have church and a graduation party to go to -- then a nice long nap, listening to the drops hit the windows, tinkling softly as they slide down.   Aaahhhh...

graphics from Pinterest

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Easy Knit Slippers

These are a good start for Christmas presents...and even a beginner can make them beautiful. Try variegated yarn, like the examples shown, for a particularly effective look.

Go here for specifics.

Who Would YOU Believe?

She got stopped because she was driving erratically... at 1:30 in the morning.  The Texas trooper who pulled her car over suspected she...